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the

POLITIK PRESS

A publication of

JHU POLITIK jhupolitik.org

EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Jeremy Orloff , Matt Varvaro MANAGING EDITOR Alex Clearfield ASSISTANT EDITORS Julia Allen Colette Andrei Ari Schaffer LAYOUT EDITOR Victoria Scordato

HEAD WRITER Rachel Cohen STAFF WRITERS Megan Augustine, Michael Bodner, Virgil Doyle, Eric Feinberg, Cary Glynn, Daniel Roettger FACULTY ADVISOR Steven R. David Cover Art by Will Denton (‘11) and Victoria Scordato

VOLUME XII, ISSUE II SEPTEMBER 24th, 2012


Volume XII, Issue II

the

POLITIK PRESS

SEPTEMBER 24th, 2012

WEEK IN REVIEW by Christopher P. Winer ‘14, Contributing Writer ROTC Returns to Harvard Last week, Harvard held its first ROTC physical training workout in 40 years. The university banned the program, which trains students to be officers in the armed forces, because of a 1969 campus uprising over the Vietnam War. The ban continued because of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, which prevented gays from serving openly in the military. Three of the other eight Ivy League schools—Yale, Brown, and Columbia—also broke off relations with the armed forces. After the 2010 repeal of the law, three Ivies— Harvard, Yale, and Columbia—made steps to bring ROTC back to campus by this fall. Johns Hopkins never parted ways with Army ROTC, which has been a part of campus life since 1916.

Iranian Cyberattacks Disrupt U.S. Banks and Companies According to U.S. intelligence officials, Iran has apparently retaliated against Western economic sanctions aimed at derailing its nuclear program by unleashing a series of disruptive computer attacks against major U.S. banks and other companies. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said, “I think this was done by Iran and the Quds Force, which has its own developing cyberattack capability.” The Quds Force is a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the military. Describing the attacks on the websites of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, Lieberman said they are “a powerful example of our vulnerability. It’s a warning to us that if we take action against their nuclear weapons development that they have the capacity to strike back at us.”

Names From Controversial Guantanamo Prison Released On Friday, the Obama administration released the names of 55 of the 167 detainees currently held at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. These prisoners have been approved for transfer to other countries. A 2009 court order requested by the government had kept these names secret from the public. On his second day in office, the president issued an order to close the prison by January 2010 and to set up a taskforce to review the status of prisoners there. While security concerns upset his plans, the White House continues to seek countries to accept prisoners who were identified by the task force as qualified for release. Government lawyers said in a court filing Friday that 28 prisoners have been sent to their home countries since 2009, while 40 prisoners have been moved to other countries.

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Volume XII, Issue II

the

POLITIK PRESS

SEPTEMBER 24th, 2012

A RESPONSE TO LAST WEEK’S VOTER ID ARTICLE by Rachel Cohen ‘14, Head Writer

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write this piece in response to Christopher Winer’s article featured in last week’s issue entitled “Making Your Vote Count Through Voter ID Laws.” Winer argues that voter ID laws are “common sense,” that they would work to “inspire public confidence” in our electoral system, and that the laws really pose only a “minor problem” to voters who lack proper identification. I beg to differ. I am from Pennsylvania, a key battleground state and the state with the strictest Voter ID law in the country. Winer insists that although these laws might at the most be a “minor infringement of freedom,” overall they are ultimately worth it. First it is worth considering, why would they be hypothetically “worth it?” One might answer: these laws work to prevent in-person voter fraud. However Pennsylvania has already ruled in court proceedings that there has been no evidence of an issue with in-person voting fraud in the state. So these laws are quite a risky “preventative solution” to a non-existent problem. This summer I worked in my hometown as an Organizing Fellow on the Obama re-election campaign; the confusing and continually revised voter ID law was a key concern for voters and organizers on an almost daily basis. I recall one instance in which a frustrated middle-aged man came into the Obama office, identified himself as a high school English teacher, and asked PP in exasperation, “Where can I find a DMV that actually issues these IDs? I moved here recently and I’ve driven to four different DMV centers today and none of them offer photo ID services!” This anecdote was extremely telling. This man had the money, time, and means to travel to at least five different DMVs and yet still struggled to obtain an ID. A majority of individuals who lack proper identification have none of these three things. In Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, nine rural counties have no DMV centers at all. In an additional 20 counties containing 1.5 million people, driver’s license centers are open three

or fewer days a week. (Thirteen counties have DMVs only open one day per week.) Also, only seven out of 67 total counties have more than one DMV center. In the Pennsylvania lower-court decision on this issue, Judge Simpson wrote that the number of registered voters without valid voter ID falls “somewhat more than 1 percent and significantly less than 9 percent,” or in other words, anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 registered Pennsylvanian voters. While we should clean up the voter registration rolls, we should also be working to enforce laws for problems we have, not problems we don’t have. Stephanie Singer, chair of the Philadelphia City Commission (which runs elections in the city) argues that the voter ID law specifically creates more problems than it fixes. “If this legislature were serious about [voter fraud], they would be funding poll worker training, data forensics, [and] aggressive investigation of the voter registration lists,” Singer tells KYW Newsradio. What I find most ironic about Winer’s piece was his suggestion that in order for the government to reimburse travel costs to the DMV, individuals should present a utility bill or a bank statement to prove they are who they say they are. Or in other words, the forms of identification that used to be acceptable and legitimate enough to vote now are only good enough to get reimbursed. You know what would inspire public confidence in our electoral system? If we advocated for a system where registered American citizens were easily able to exercise their right to vote—ensuring that we really have moved past the dark days of poll taxes, literacy tests, and unabashed disenfranchisement of women and minorities. If people think we need voter ID laws, then over the next few election cycles let us work to phase that process in responsibly. But if we want to ensure that all registered citizens will be able to cast their ballot in the upcoming election, we must admit that there is no way this nation will be ready to handle the proposed ID laws by November 6th. It is simply logistically infeasible. PP

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Volume XII, Issue II

Opinion

SEPTEMBER 24th, 2012

THE GHOST OF TERRORISM: PERU 20 YRS. AFTER ABIMAEL by Maria Santa Cruz ‘16, Contributing Writer

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n September 12th, 1992, Abimael Guzman, Peru’s most wanted criminal, was captured after months of careful surveillance. Guzman was the leader of a group called the Shining Path, a radical Leninist-Maoist movement that fought to install a dictatorship of the proletariat and destabilized Peru for about a decade. It was responsible for the death of at least 30,000 Peruvians, most of whom were poor Quechua-speaking inhabitants of the rural areas. Tired of the endless violence, the population celebrated his capture as a symbol of the end of terror. Recent events have shown that Guzman’s arrest was certainly not the conclusion to this nightmare. Although the organization was weakened throughout the ’90s, the Shining Path has increased its activity during this past year by engaging in guerrilla operations and regrouping under new political fronts. At a pivotal moment in Peru’s road to development, President Humala is confronted with the ghost of terrorism and the question of how to deal with it. The Shining Path has been increasing its military activity in VRAEM, Peru’s largest coca growing region located in the Southern highlands. According to the Peruvian Police, the number of terrorist attacks in 2010 was 25% higher than it was in 2009. More recently, the Shining Path kidnapped 36 workers from a gas plant this past April, and they have been abducting and indoctrinating children into their organization as well. In addition to actively engaging in guerrilla warfare, the Shining Path militants have also regrouped as a political front under the name of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (MOVADEF). MOVADEF demands amnesty for Abimael Guzman and all those who participated in the 1980 “people’s war” fought by the Shining Path, including terrorists, members of the army, and politicians. Despite having been denied registration as a political party twice already, the movement has garnered a strong member base in at least 18 out of the 25 regions in the country.

A large part of MOVADEF’s militancy is composed of young people in their late teens and early 20s. Although they are probably too young to remember the terror of the late 80s and early 90s, these youths proudly chant party slogans at protests with their left fists tightly clenched in the air. Finally, the Shining Path is also highly involved in the recent teacher strikes that have been sprouting all over the nation. The Shining Path has formed a group within the teachers’ union itself known as the Committee of Reorganization and Reorientation of the SUTEP (CONARE-SUTEP). Disillusioned by the corruption found within Peru’s government, some individuals find the Shining Path’s ideology attractive. Although the government and the army have been fairly invested in VRAEM for the past 20 years, they have been very ineffective both at countering the Shining Path’s militant actions and at informing the general population about the issues. According to a recent urban poll carried out by Ipsos Apoyo, 39% of the people interviewed didn’t know who Abimael Guzman is. This alarmingly high statistic is evidence of the government’s inefficient antiterrorist policy. Peru’s president and Congress can no longer rely solely on clumsy military action to deal with this problem. The Peruvian government has the duty to inform its citizens about the crimes of the Shining Path. It must resume construction on the Museum of Memory, a monument to human rights currently on hold, in order to strengthen Peruvian unity, and it must dedicate time and resources to the development of emergency zones like Mantaro valley in VRAEM. Most importantly, instead of wasting their energy in meaningless political quarrels, Peru’s government must take action in order to regain the citizens’ trust. Their actions must be more transparent and always in the best interest of the people. PP

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Volume XII, Issue II

Opinion

SEPTEMBER 24th, 2012

IN DEFENSE OF THE ARAB SPRING by Henry Chen‘14, Contributing Writer

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n the aftermath of the embassy attacks on September 11th, 2012, a growing cynicism has come to dominate dialogue surrounding the Arab Spring and its consequences. A sizeable contingent that was once supportive of the democratic potential unleashed by grassroots revolution has now come to question our recent actions in the Middle East. Many wonder whether decisions such as the bombing campaign against the Gadhafi regime and the State Department’s support for the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood over the Egyptian Army were truly in our best interest. Recently, Congressman Rand Paul proposed a bill that would halt all American foreign aid to the governments of Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan, a sum totaling $4 billion annually, in retaliation for their failure to check anti-American attacks. This is emblematic of a rising tide of realpolitik sentiment regarding foreign policy: when deciding a course of action overseas, the US Government should always place its material interests first without regard to its longstanding ideological commitment to spreading freedom overseas. Amidst an economic nadir, many feel that the US government can no longer afford to build democratic institutions abroad, and that America can no longer afford to be exceptional. Ultimately, this policy of disengagement from the burgeoning democratic movements in favor of an allegedly more realist policy of suppression and containment would be disastrous from not only a principled standpoint, but also from a security one. In the Federalist Papers, James Madison commented on the dangers of factionalism in a democracy, particularly with regard to religion, which can lead to political turmoil. These points are just as applicable to Libya today as they were to America in the 18th century. In the chaos of Libya, it is important to remember that those who conducted the attacks on the American consulate are not a representation of the majority of the Libyan people, but rather that of a desperate minority faction. As Professor Robert Freedman from Johns Hopkins’s Department of Political Science

explained, the attacks on the US consulate came in the wake of a decisive electoral victory by the moderate liberal National Forces Alliance over the Salafist Justice and Construction Party during recent Libyan election this summer. This left radicals with no choice but to attempt to sever US-Libya relations through violence. Contrary to popular opinion, investigations have suggested that the attack on the US consulate in Libya was not the result of a spontaneous uprising resulting from an offending YouTube video, but rather a carefully planned terrorist attack. The Libyan government has profusely denounced the attack and on September 21st angry protesters, upset by the impunity with which armed groups have operated in the absence of law, stormed the bases of three militias including the extremist Ansar al-Sharia group accused of orchestrating the attack. Punishing the entire Libyan people for terrorist attacks by withdrawing aid, or launching a retaliatory military strike, during a vital phase in Libya’s democratic consolidation would serve these radicals precisely. Likewise in Egypt, after a frank discussion with President Obama, Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood quickly took steps to limit populist rhetoric and publicly urged restraint. The question of how to guarantee security during a democratic transition is a difficult one. Populist Islamist parties are taking advantage of the unrest to build support for their domestic agendas. To do so, they are rallying support against external foes such as the USA, something many contend was the underlying force driving the protests following the release of the YouTube video, “Innocence of Muslims.” In Libya, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has gained a foothold in the power vacuum left by Gadhafi’s overthrow. Some argue that the quickest solution to these security threats would be to send a strong message to the Libyan and Egyptian governments through a show of force. Such a policy would theoretically coerce their leaders into quickly restoring law and order.

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Volume XII, Issue I

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POLITIK PRESS

SEPTEMBER 17th, 2012

IN DEFENSE OF THE ARAB SPRING: Continued From, Page 5 Unfortunately, this course of action would be counterproductive. It would further inflame anti-American sentiment in the Arab world, and sacrifice longterm stability for short-term security. To forsake the democratically elected governments by utilizing military and economic coercion to implement more pro-Western regimes (such as one led by the Egyptian army) would be to guarantee a much more violent and decisively anti-Liberal uprising several years down the road, simultaneously serving as a rallying call for contemporary extremists. It would also incur monetary costs: in 2010, the US spent $ 1.3 billion in military aid for the Egyptian army, compared to $250 million in aid for economic development. Today, it is unlikely that such a sum would be sufficient to maintain military rule now that the cat has been let out of the bag. The peace treaty signed in 1978 as part of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt is a vital tenet to Israeli security. There is certainly legitimate reason for concern that populist pressures in Egypt could lead to its retraction. However, within this context there is also opportunity. As columnist Thomas Friedman of the New York Times pointed out, “As soon as authoritarianism breaks down, and a process of democratization begins…the opinions of the people — in this instance, ordinary Arabs — will matter.” What may seem to be a setback for Israel may actually be an opportunity in the long run: the chance to establish a lasting peace based not upon American transfer payments to the Egyptian military, but upon a sense of mutual respect. Thus far President Morsi has stated that he seeks to maintain the current peace between the two nations, and it would be rash to discount the possibility of cooperation with a Muslim Brotherhood-led government.

Pahlavi as head of state and swept aside Iran’s parliament. Despite its poor human rights record, the United States continued to support the Shah’s regime through large amounts of monetary aid and access to the latest military hardware. Ultimately, it was not enough. In 1979, simmering political unrest finally gave way to open revolution. The result was the Islamic Republic of Iran, which immediately took action to sever diplomatic ties with the USA and stormed the American Embassy. The Iranian government has been a destabilizing agent in the region ever since, serving as a constant menace to US foreign policy aims in the Middle East. This slide into extremism will be the fate of Egypt and Libya if we fail to commit to a course of action that both reinforces democratic institutions and recognizes the fundamental dignity of each individual. In the long run, to suppress a democratically elected government (even one dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood) for the sake of stability is simply to kick the security dilemma down the road. Eventually and inevitably, regimes that lack a basis of popular sovereignty will implode and the result will be violent, anti-Western revolution instead of the ambivalent instability we see today. There are huge costs and sacrifices to supporting democracy overseas. It is not easy to invest billions in foreign governments and institutions at a time when 8.3% of the labor force is unemployed. It is even more difficult to sustain security in the region when our military has already made enormous sacrifices over the past decade. However, we have no option but to commit to establishing free governments in Libya, Egypt, and Syria. This is not only the right course of action, it is also the prudent one. To do anything less would be a betrayal of future generations who will be inherit an even bleaker security situation. PP

In 1953, the United States faced a similar choice. When the democratically elected and enormously popular prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, nationalized the Iranian oil industry and implemented a broad range of progressive social reforms, it drew the attention of various policy makers who feared the encroachment of communism. Later that year, a CIA-led coup installed the pro-Western but autocratic Shah

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Volume XII, Issue II

Opinion

SEPTEMBER 24th, 2012

WHAT IF AL-ASSAD FALLS? by Christopher Dunnett ‘13, Contributing Writer

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he conflict in Syria continues unabated, with little hope for a political resolution. Despite numerous defections and the assassination of several members of President Bashar Al-Assad’s inner circle, neither the regime nor opposition forces have demonstrated any commitment to peace. However, an outright regime victory has become increasingly unlikely as Al-Assad’s military forces and pro-government militias have alienated much of the Syrian population. Even if the Free Syrian Army is defeated militarily, significant political instability and guerilla warfare will likely continue for the foreseeable future. The Al-Assad regime is likely to continue to slowly erode before it ultimately collapses and the United States and the international community must prepare for this possibility. Moreover a Ba’athist disintegration could prove catastrophic not just for Syrians, but for the entire region. The Syrian civil war has become alarmingly sectarian. The Al-Assad family is Alawi, a religious sect that is a mystical offshoot of Shi’a Islam. The regime’s inner-circle is also dominated by Alawis, and many of their religious compatriots throughout the country have reluctantly thrown their support behind the regime. People within the Syrian Christian minority are fearful that a regime collapse would threaten their security, considering that the Free Syrian Army is composed primarily of the majority Sunnis. If the Syrian regime collapses, Syrian Shiites and Christians, including battle-hardened pro-government forces, may flee to Lebanon and complicate the delicate situation in a country recovering from the fifteen-year Lebanese Civil War. Instead of accepting exile in Lebanon, the Alawis might attempt to build a breakaway republic in the Alawi stronghold along Syria’s Mediterranean coastline, effectively seceding from the rest of Syria. Sunni-Shiite tensions could similarly spill across the border into Iraq, which is still struggling with widespread sectarian violence of its own. If Al-Assad falls suddenly, the power vacuum left in its wake could incite Sunni-Shiite violence and reignite grudges and tensions

throughout the region. In the event of collapse, Iran would lose a valuable ally and the response from Tehran could be particularly frightening. The Syrian conflict has already driven a rift between Tehran and Hamas as the Palestinian group publicly supported the Syrian rebels back in February. Rather than acting cowed, Tehran is more likely to lash out aggressively as it is backed into a corner and will step up its support for Hezbollah, its last remaining ally in the region. The right of the Syrian people to exercise self-determination is an important and admirable goal. However, decentralized rebel leadership, a sudden regime collapse, and the spread of sectarian violence will only damage Syria’s - and the region’s - prospects for democracy. The Obama Administration needs to exercise strong, consistent, and pragmatic leadership, and take a stand in discouraging sectarianism. The Administration must stand firm against foreign fighters, both Sunni and Shiite, and pressure the Gulf States to cease large weapons transfers to Islamist rebels. Strong Sunni Arab backing for Islamist elements in the opposition only hardens the resolve of pro-government forces to continue the fight. In addition, the Administration needs to work with the international community to calm the fears of religious minorities. Unlike in Libya, the Syrian rebels have not formed a credible leadership council to present a unified voice for the opposition. The United States can provide support for this task, pledging additional aid if the opposition builds an acceptable transitional body. This necessary step would force rebels to clarify their goals, and in doing so would reassure Alawis and Christians who worry about a radical Islamist takeover. Ultimately, the United States, in conjunction with the international community, can play a meaningful role in resolving the Syrian crisis and mitigate the fears of Syrians of all religious and ethnic background. The international community can accomplish this by encouraging greater rebel transparency and discouraging foreign involvement that hardens sectarian divisions. PP

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Volume XII, Issue II

SEPTEMBER 24th, 2012

WRITE FOR thePOLITIK PRESS

Photo Courtesy: United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Division

The Politik Press, originally founded in 2008 as JHU Politik, is a weekly publication of political opinion pieces. We believe that progress comes from conversation and that every voice deserves to be heard. Our staff is made up of students with majors that range from political science to bio-molecular engineering. We seek out the best political writers on campus and regularly interview professors and graduate students. In many ways, the Homewood campus is a microcosm of the American political landscape. We find ourselves at a crossroads defined by students from across the country, professors with disparate political theories, and a city constantly confronting racial violence, political corruption and systemic economic problems. While we publish the Politik Press weekly, we work simultaneously on our special issues. These magazines confront a single topic from multiple angles. In 2011, with the Arab Spring fully underway, we interviewed five Hopkins professors whose expertise ranged from Archeology to US-Israeli relations, in order to provide some clarity on an immensely complex and constantly shifting situation. In 2012 we focused on the political issues of Baltimore, conducting interviews with professors and local politicians in order to shed light on the complexities of our school’s relationship to our city. Possible topics for our next special issue include the politics of financial aid and student debt.

If interested e-mail us at

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The Politik Press, Volume 12, Issue 2  

We are proud to present the semester's second issue of the Politik Press, JHU Politik's weekly magazine. This issue features articles on cr...

The Politik Press, Volume 12, Issue 2  

We are proud to present the semester's second issue of the Politik Press, JHU Politik's weekly magazine. This issue features articles on cr...

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